I’m sure many of us who work in insurance, reinsurance, project management and consulting are quite familiar with issue logs. For those unfamiliar, an issue log is a list of open and closed tasks or issues with a given project or department. Somebody, usually a project manager or, um, your B-O-S-S probably keeps one in some form or another. And, I’m sure I don’t need to explain the feeling you get when it comes to your boss reviewing your item(s) on the list! For myself, I know that having an issue log is important when it comes to documenting critical project issues.
“Reinsurance Richard, what is the status of project ABC, and why is it delayed?”
Yikes! If you are on top of it every single minute of every day, you joyfully answer “DONE” and then get assigned your next item (or in some cases, your next 15 items!). Then, the “not as important item” from last month’s discussions is brought up.
“What’s the status on this one?” your boss asks.
Uh-oh! In all of your saving the world glory, you forgot about that item. But wait, the first one was mission critical…. everyone said that that was the most important thing in the history of jobs everywhere. What happened?? That glory was short lived.
A personal issue log can help you manage all of your tasks,
From your everyday responsibilities to the project within a project that spans months or even years. In the scenario above, your issue log reminded you of that next task after mission critical. Since your issue log was very detailed, you answered with confidence and you were able to pick right back up on last month’s “not as important” item. The glory days continue!
Here are some components that will add value to your issue log and set you up for success.
- An issue log should have dates – when the issue was reported, when it was last updated, and when was it closed. These dates can keep you on your toes. If you haven’t followed up in a while, the log will tell you. No need to dig through all your e-mails or remember a phone conversation… you have it in the issue log.
- You want to have a very detailed description of the issue – how was it found and an all-encompassing view into what might currently be happening.
- You want to have an open section for notes as you go – this is for you, and the more detail you have, the easier it is to know the status and situation of any open issues, especially if you haven’t worked on an item in a while. You may need to pass this to someone else while you are on another project, so this could help the next person who works on the task.
- Other items to track are those things that can give impact value – e., ask yourself “What’s the scale?” “Is there a financial impact?” “And how important is this compared to other priorities?” All these queries lend to answering questions from bosses, clients, and colleagues in order to help make your life easier.
From reporting audit findings, to being a stellar project manager and/or consultant, there are a number of benefits to using an issue log.
Here are three benefits of how YOUR personal issue log can help you become a better expert in your role:
- An issue log will help you manage everything on your plate at any given time. You may have notes on that “not as important item” that you were in the process of completing, and you can provide your managers with a comprehensive update. Whew, saved by the personal issue log!
- Maintaining a comprehensive and robust issue log can help you when the auditors come-a-knocking! Example: “Mr. Auditor, we found this on this date, and this is how we fixed it”. Whew, looking extra smart and professional by using your personal issue log.
- Or, how about when you’d like to have a chat with your manager about some specific issues which highlight how you were able to help clear items and the positive financial impact they had on the company’s bottom line? Having a clear track record of your issues, how you were able to resolve them, AND be able to demonstrate positive returns will certainly help you when it comes time to your formal performance review. Alas, a win-win for you AND the business.
BONUS item #4: Stress Reduction! All of these examples can help with reducing stress at work. As a busy insurance professional, you likely have a lot on your plate at any given time, am I right? So who couldn’t do with a little less stress?? Personal issue log… thank you.